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10.14.13

Tim Berners-Lee is Wrong, DRM in HTML is a Very Big Deal

Posted in DRM at 9:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Time to fork HTML?

Tim Berners-Lee by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Source: Original from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, modified by Techrights

Summary: The Web’s founder, Tim Berners-Lee, now actively defends the copyright cartel, only to find loud opposition even from his biggest and more prominent fans

Tim Berners-Lee is quickly losing credibility and he has nobody else to blame. He actively echoes Hollywood talking points or at least Hollywood’s apologists, to whom a copyright monopoly or cartel is perfectly acceptable if not essential.

“It’s that time of the year again,” writes iopkh.” Time to remind the media that there are no such things as Nobel prizes in astrology, professional wrestling or economics.” Here is Cory Doctorow speaking out his mind again, urging Mozilla to tackle DRM like it already tackles Flash, namely:

Mozilla’s Shumway project, an attempt to create a replacement Flash plug-in that uses HTML5, might ever so slightly placate those barracking for the latter. Previously Shumway has only been available as a separate extension, but it recently made its way into Firefox’s nightly builds, hinting at the prospect of mainline inclusion somewhere down the line.

Glyn Moody, a vocal fan of Tim Berners-Lee, has become quite a notable opposer of his stance of DRM in HTML5. He raises some very good points:

Tim Berners-Lee on Why HTML5 “Needs” DRM

[...]

That’s an extremely odd comment, since it divides up the online world up into active creators and passive consumers. That’s precisely the framing that the copyright industry adopts in an attempt to minimise the rights of Internet users, and to belittle their role.

[...]

Putting users first is great, but this sets up a false dichotomy between those who “like to watch big-budget movies at home” and those who want an open Web, as if the former must lose if the latter win. But it’s ridiculous to suggest that companies like Netflix will stop streaming video over the Internet if the Web does not include DRM. It may do it with proprietary Web plugins, or it might even insist that people use standalone code, but that’s not a problem – it is exactly how it’s been done in the past.

Moreover, the open Web will exist and thrive even if some people choose to use proprietary code, just as open source thrives despite the existence of some closed-source applications. The only people who might conceivably lose out if DRM isn’t included in HTML is the W3C, who won’t be able to control exactly how those non-Web parts operate. But that’s true now, anyway, and I can’t believe that the W3C is so power crazed that it wants to sacrifice the open Web solely to extend its empire a little further.

The longer this goes on for, the worse Tim Berners-Lee’s reputation will get. He hopefully understands this by now. The NSA already threatens forking of the Web. Tim Berners-Lee might do the same with his stance. If not a fork, then an alternative might be put forth. There were several Web-like prototypes preceding Tim Berners-Lee’s. Although some were better, they never quite caught on. Tim Berners-Lee and the W3C may feel like they have no competition, so they think that they can get away with DRM.

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7 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    October 15, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Gravatar

    So what is your solution? How do individuals and companies protect their IP?

    Why not have a built in standard and not a bunch of plugins people need to download?

    XFaCE Reply:

    >Why not have a built in standard and not a bunch of plugins people need to download?

    Indeed, and while we’re at it, why not breed unicrons and fairies for everyone.

    Hey Michael, you realize that this “plugin-free” solution still depends on what are essentially proprietary plugins (“Content Decryption Modules”) right? Please explain to me how this solves the problems of relying on proprietary extensions.

    >So what is your solution? How do individuals and companies protect their IP?

    Well that depends. What exactly are we protecting? Protecting from whom? What is IP in a practical sense? What about studies that show positive effects from file sharing that’s violating “protection” as you put it? Why do we need law-based and tech-based solutions? Why are tech-based solutions protected under law? What is the evidence of a broad negative effect?

    But maybe I’m too nuanced here. I should instead follow your example and use loaded questions to paint the world in black and white. “How do good honest citizens protect themselves from that stupid idiot troll Michael harassing them on the Internet?” See, I can do it too.

    Michael Reply:

    Why not have a built in standard and not a bunch of plugins people need to download?

    Indeed, and while we’re at it, why not breed unicrons and fairies for everyone.

    Do you think standards are impossible to develop? If not I do not see your point?

    Hey Michael, you realize that this “plugin-free” solution still depends on what are essentially proprietary plugins (“Content Decryption Modules”) right? Please explain to me how this solves the problems of relying on proprietary extensions.

    HTML and CSS are standardized (largely – there are, of course, browser-specific extensions). JPGs and GIFs and PNGs allow for standardized image types to be views in any browser. TCP-IP is standardized. Many other things are to allow for the Internet and the Web to even exist as they do. It makes sense to also standardize on a set of multi-media and security features. Why not continue the advancement that has been happening in the tech industry? Of course, as newer technologies come about the standards will get better – just as PNGs were not that common a decade ago but now are.

    So what is your solution? How do individuals and companies protect their IP?

    Well that depends. What exactly are we protecting? Protecting from whom? What is IP in a practical sense? What about studies that show positive effects from file sharing that’s violating “protection” as you put it? Why do we need law-based and tech-based solutions? Why are tech-based solutions protected under law? What is the evidence of a broad negative effect?

    We are not talking about the effect of people violating IP – we are talking about people’s choice to protect their own IP. Maybe you think it is a bad idea to do so. Fine. For that matter, I produce educational videos and sell them – I do not use any DRM scheme with the DVDs I sell. I even tell people how to make copies to their hard drive or other media. But this is my *choice*. I believe in choice and freedom. I am very much against Stallman and the like who want (at least as an ideal) to eliminate freedom and choice and to force all people to do as I do with their IP.

    But maybe I’m too nuanced here. I should instead follow your example and use loaded questions to paint the world in black and white. “How do good honest citizens protect themselves from that stupid idiot troll Michael harassing them on the Internet?” See, I can do it too.

    My question is a simple one: if you do not like a built in standard what do you suggest instead? Requiring people to download proprietary solutions? I do not think that should be eliminated, but I think it would make things better for technology standards to continue to advance. Does not mean web developers should be forced to use these standards – after all, I *can* have all the images on my site be in PSD format if I *want*, but it sure makes it a lot easier for developers and users if we are have common standards to follow. Why this offends you so much is anyone’s guess. I sincerely hope that if you chose to respond you can do so without name calling and other immature acts.

    XFaCE Reply:

    Or to use another example, “How do we prevent the discrimination of Christianity from gay marriage legalization?”

    Michael Reply:

    What discrimination? I do not follow what you are saying. Is someone being forced into a gay marriage? If they are then I would agree it is wrong. It sounds, however, like you are suggesting giving others freedom and choice is somehow an offensive thing to you.

    XFaCE Reply:

    I was giving a further example of a loaded question that assumes a reality, like you did in the previous post. You know, the whole “using loaded questions to paint the world in black and white.” The fact you miss that this was an example of such a question and not a statement of opinion is really reflective of your strawmaning.

    Michael Reply:

    What loaded question?

    I am merely noting that whining about standards without having a good alternative is not good. Roy and those who are against standards should come up with a *solution* (even if just in idea form – I am not saying they must implement it), not just whine about the solutions are others are coming up with.

    I am pushing for freedom and for people to go with any shade of gray they want. I am fighting against the idea that any ideas but mine must be bad. That is what Stallman pushes and what Roy repeats – use their ideas or it is immoral. No: Stallman’s GPL is a great license, but it should be a *choice*. People should be free to protect their own property in multiple ways.

    Having standards for HTML and CSS and image formats and video formats and audio formats and networking formats and IP protection all make sense (and many have already been implemented), but people should not be forced to use them and there should be freedom to improve on them and offer updated ideas that can become new standards. Nothing black and white about that at all.

    Calling this “black and white” thinking without being able to explain how or why merely shows a lack of understanding on your part. You seem to have a strong desire to disagree but no real content to use with your disagreement. Add to that your silly insults, accusations, and engagement in name calling only serves to make you look lost and immature. Please try to raise the level of your discourse.

    Thank you.

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